Gender role is a commonly discussed subject in society. Gender role simply defined is a person's inner sense of how a male or female should feel and behave. Society and culture are also very important in relation to this subject. This means different societies and cultures may produce children and later, grown men and women, who have quite different views of a man or a woman's place in the world around them, often determined by their culture's gender stereotypes. These topics will be explained and compared to each other later on. How to implement a gender free childcare environment will also be discussed.
Children begin to learn their gender roles at a very young age. Boys must learn what boys and men do, what they like, and even how they think and feel. Females do likewise as they learn the roles for girls and women. This is called gender stereotyping. When children seem already aware of differences between what men and women wear and do, then children are deeply involved in this search for these "rules," and later on can often apply gender-specific labels to toys, activities, types of work around the home, and even adult occupations. This how the children, since they were born, step-by-step came to learn their gender roles.
We see gender roles and the results of gender stereotyping around us every day in the society. In our homes, there are often certain tasks that are usually carried out by a man - cutting the lawn, for example, or fixing a broken washing machine - and others, like the bulk of the cooking and the washing up - that often are almost always done by the woman. The stories we watch on TV and in the movies often follow exactly the divisions of sexual roles that so many cultur...
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...cussing adults, I would show the children pictures of female doctors and male nurses and find other ways to show that almost all occupations are now open to both of the sexes. Children learn from their play about what the world is, or should be. They learn new skills and about new possibilities.
I would not be disappointed if the boys still liked their toys more in the end and the girls sometimes preferred housekeeping to the monkey bars. The important thing is to provide openness and diversity of choices. There are biological sexual differences between men and women, of course, but gender roles are often imposed on children by the culture around them. As an ECE educator I believe that I need to promote un-biased play activities and teach children in an open and diverse environment so that each child can discover on their own who she is and what he wants to be.
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